Monday, May 31, 2010

"ADAM The Musical" review

Went for a musicale yesterday with 2 friends at The Actors Studio (TAS) @ Lot 10. I've never reviewed a theatrical play before, but would like to just share my opinion on it as an amateur actor and to help out a friend of mine with her "new curriculum report" on theater! So here goes.....

Adam The Musical was a collaboration between TAS and Malaysian AIDS Foundation and will be performing time and again from 12th of May till 20th of June, everyday at 8.30pm except Sundays at 3pm (no shows on Mondays). Synopsis here.
 “When it comes to protection, the hardest part is persuasion … if they still say no, I’ll stroke their ego until they rise and say they need a jumbo size.”
 “Do you know, the first day he met you; his face was shining like a moon…He laughed at me, hold my hands, look into my eyes, with a smile, and I know, maybe this boy don’t need me anymore?"
"Adam is about the dangerous time we live in, of suspicion and fear of people and things we don’t know. It is about compassion and strength, and how these qualities can turn the bleakest days into one with light, even if it is just a faint one.
Adam is about finding true love, and knowing that we can be very lucky after all."
Adam The Musical is a minimalist theater (not sure if there's such a term), where very little props are used; no extensive backdrops - only projections are flashed to interchange scenes; no extravagant costumes and definitely, no special effects! But then again, theater doesn't need all those to be good! Good acting, excellent singing and energetic dancing (after all, it IS a musical!) are enough to build a strong core for this production.
However, the show is not all that great...

Its female lead, Sylvia (played by Tabitha Kong) acted as good as her singing was, although there was one occasion she went out of tune. But hey! No one says a musical is easy to perform! One needs to act, sing AND dance at the same time....Heck! Imagine how much stamina he or she needs! So I'll consider it a job well done. She is better than the other casts and even overshadowed the male lead, Adam (played by Malik Taufiq) in both singing and acting! Malik was a bit of a let down. Acting wise was O.K., just not that great..... He may need to brush up on his singing a bit too to be equal with the female lead.

Sandra Mannas Wolf who played Sylvia's mother, was perfect in her bitchy and dominant character. Her convincing act was something to look forward to in the whole play. Mark Sobels who played Michael, the angel, was good too! He is, after all, a veteran in acting. So one would expect quality acting from him and singing too was pretty good. No flaws in him.

The set back to this, otherwise, awesome play is probably caused by Auntie Noni (played by Dato' Faridah Merican) and the two transvestites (Mo Dee and Fairuz Tahid) character. Although Dato' Faridah's acting was top-notch, I can't help but to furrow my eyebrows when she sings most of the time. There were obvious out-of-tunes and her voice isn't so strong to create a "dramatic effect" in the songs that she sang. And I swear to God that I heard "breaks" in her voice. (No offence but) I was kinda disappointed.

The transvestites did well in acting and dancing. However, they should really REALLY work on their diction!!! No joke! I couldn't make heads and tails out of their dialogues. Well, not all, but most of them! Yes, I understand it is a Malaysian theater, hence the Manglish. But seriously, if the audience can't catch what you say, you fail to deliver the message of the scene and cause the whole play to be a failure! Dah lah I was having a tough time deciphering their normal conversations, imagine when they broke into songs, it was just..........noise!

However, the star of the show was none other than Tria Aziz who play a crazy lady who was already dead. Awesome acting and singing (though not much dancing)!!! Her solo towards the end was indeed a standing ovation and managed to give a lasting impression! I was indeed impressed by her! Great job and bravo!
Kudos to the rest of the dancers too. And credits to the live mini orchestra band at the side of the stage. Great music and amazing original songs! I totally love them!

All in all, Adam The Musical was a pretty good play. I'll rate is as 3.8 out of 5. Go support it! After all, it is a local production and do your part for charity as all purchases goes straight to Malaysian AIDS Foundation. 

Below is my ticket! ;D

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Don't underestimate us!

I HATE it when others comment, "You are just a dentist! How difficult it is to study 32 teeth in the human mouth? And why are you guys busier than the medical students since they study the whole human body (mouth not included)?"

It feels as though the majority of my friends, in fact the society, undervalue us, the dentists! Do you know that our schedule is from 8am to 5pm every day with just 1 hour lunch break (except Friday due to prayers)?? Occasionally till 6pm as we may have extra lab work. Do you know that...............Oh forget it! I am NOT going to go on and on about how difficult and strenuous our course is because, I believe EVERYONE thinks that their own course is difficult.

Then, based on that statement, why are we so underestimated compared to our counterparts??? I soooooo feel like doing this to the next person who perli us!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Spoilt for choice

I long and am craving for a new hand phone!!!!! My first ever bought phone (bought here means, brand new and not passed down from mother or father to child) was a Motorola L6 back when I was in Form 4, which is year 2004!

And I am STILL using it now as a back up when my current Nokia 3110 classic gets coo-koo! And mind you, it IS getting coo-koo from time to time now.

If you were thinking, "Why change to this when L6 still works fine?". Well, apparently my L6 had had dark history before! into the toilet bowl before!

Yes! It did....and yes, I did put my hand into the "glory hole" to reach my phone! OH GOD!!! It feels terrible! It happened when I brought my phone into the showers so that I can listen to songs.....but a slipped of hands has caused it to fall into the toilet. Thank God there weren't shit in it...... ERGH....still, putting your hands in there is icky! X_X
As a result, my L6 became "sot-sot" (malfunctioned) since then and the thing that irks me the most is that there were no signal when others have! Can you imagine how difficult it is for me to call especially when there's an emergency??? And others can't reach me all for the same reason!
To make things worse, my Nokia 3110 classic has been possessed by ghost recently! At times it on and off all by itself! Sigh~~~

And so I had enough and it's time for me to get a new phone now! I-phones? Who wouldn't want them? But I don't have that much money lah, cik abang dan adik..... I am thinking of getting my dream phone, the Nokia N86 8mp (specifications hereas it being the best camera phone by Nokia till date. My personal favourites are Nokia phones. Maybe I've been using them for ages and got used to their functions and features. Never really like Sony Ericsson anyway, so their phones are out from my list. 
The reason why I choose this model is because of its 8 megapixels camera. Yeah, I know camera phones aren't as good as an actual camera. Why don't I just get a new camera instead right? Or better a DSLR! If you would check out the reviews bout this phone, pictures taken by it is comparatively good and of high quality. For me, I am pretty satisfied with the final product. I wouldn't want to carry a bulky camera or put an extra weight in my luggage knowing that my camera can do all the tricks! Camera is the main thing I look for when buying a would be its audio quality....I don't really mind it being non-touch screen and a sophisticated business phone would be a waste as I use it for entertainment purposes only.

Just yesterday, my former employer offered me a second hand Nokia E71 with warranty still available at just RM400! I've seen the phone and it is still in a good condition and I dare say the price is REALLY tempting! But if I get this....I would have to let go of my dream phone and it's camera is ONLY 3.2 megapixels!!! T_T

While being stuck in a dilemma, I searched the Web just now to make sure my dream phone is the best camera phone by Nokia and not regretting once I get my hands on it and guess what? Nokia is freaking coming up with a much better phone with 12 megapixels camera  called the Nokia N8 (specifications here)!!!!!
DAMN!!! Now I am sooooooooooooooooooo spoilt for choice!! So, is it my dream phone Nokia N86 8mp? Or the cheap second-hand but still in good condition Nokia E71?? Or should I wait for the unreleased which God knows when and God knows how expensive the price of the phone will be Nokia N8??? I AM IN SUCH A DILEMMA NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Of Hakka Chinese and our cuisine

I don't know why, as I sit here doing nothing, there was a sudden urge for me to search the web and get down with a lil' history of my people, the Hakka Chinese, and of course, my interest - its food! Hakka are less known to many people, well at least that's what I think in Malaysia. So, I'll like to bore introduce you guys with a lil' something about my people!

"The Hakkas are a practical lot and have a long tradition of making the best of a bad situation. They have no qualms in moving on to another place in search of a better life and hence earned their name – Hak, which means ''guest'' and ga, ''family''."; Tuesday, June 03, 2003

"The Hakka people also known as Hakka Han, are Han Chinese who speak the Hakka language and based in the provinces of GuangdongJiangxi, and Fujian in China. Their ancestors were often said to have arrived from what is today's central China centuries ago. It is said that in a series of migrations, the Hakkas moved, settled in their present locations in southern China, and then migrated overseas to various countries throughout the world. They have had a significant influence on the course of Chinese and overseas Chinese history: in particular, they have been a source of revolutionary, political, and military leaders."
Wikipedia; Hakka people

 Famous Hakka people include Sun Yat-sen, Lee Kuan Yew, Fann Wong, Yap Ah Loy, Eric Tsang and Chow Yun-fat just to name a few.

All right, enough about our people, now a lil' something bout our Hakka cuisine which are well described by, so I thought to use its description for this post about food.

"Hakka cuisine may be described as outwardly simple but tasty."
"Hakka cuisine in Hong Kong is less dominated by expensive meats, instead emphasis is placed on an abundance of vegetables. Pragmatic and simple, Hakka cuisine is garnished lightly with sparse or little flavouring."
Wikipedia; Hakka people 

1. Yong Tau Foo
~ Traditionally, making the yong tau foo meant stuffing small pieces of bean curd with ground meat, lightly browning them in hot oil before steaming or braising them in a pot. The yong tau foo as it is known in Malaysia today are more likely to be stuffed with fish rather than meat paste. The commercial varieties that we know so well are really a far cry from the Hakka original.

2. Hakka noodle
~ This bowl of noodle needs no introduction! Commonly found in almost everywhere in Seremban. Simple yet tasty plain noodle with only shredded pork as toppings. Seremban's most famous Hakka noodle can be found here.

3. Salt-baked chicken 
Another of their notoriously salty dishes is salt-baked chicken in which chicken, often marinated with wine, is wrapped in paper and baked in hot salt in a covered wok till cooked

4. Rice wine chicken
~ A more salubrious dish that the Hakkas are famous for is chicken cooked in a sweet homemade rice wine. It is a simple dish that uses little seasoning – often just ginger and a dash of salt – to bring out the taste of chicken and the quality of the brew so the winemaker’s skill plays a very important part in this dish. The dish is also served to new mothers during their period of confinement.

5. Braised fried pork
~ fried pork marinated overnight in 5-spices-powder and wine, then braised with black fungus for hours.

6. Pork belly (Kiu nyuk)
There are two versions of Kiu Nyuk, the most common consists of sliced pork with preserved mustard greens - thick slices of pork belly, with a layer of preserved mustard greens between each slice, are cooked and served in a dark sauce made up of soy sauce and sugar. The other version is cooked with yam or taro. Usually pork belly are used, for its layers of fat and meat. The yam and pork are shallow fried until browned before being steamed with five spice.

7. Lui cha (pounded tea) Rice
~ Yet another dish that demands elaborate preparation is the oddly named Thunder Tea Rice (lui cha funin Hakka); the ''thunder'' possibly is the din created during the cutting, pounding and grinding of tea leaves, vegetables and nuts that go into the making of this extraordinary dish.

8.  Sohn Pan Tzai (Abacus beads)
~ The daintiest of Hakka dishes is perhaps the suan pan ji (abacus beads), so called because the button-shaped taro snack resembles the beads on the Chinese abacus. A dough made of mashed yam is boiled and then stir-fried with minced meat and chopped vegetables to make a tasty snack.

9. Pig trotter vinegar
~  Trotters are often served whole with the skin fried to a crisp or chopped into big chunks and stewed in sweet black vinegar. The Hakkas also waste no parts of the pig and are known for their skills in turning offal into delectable nibbles.

10. Poon Choy (Big Bowl feast)
~Poon Choi includes ingredients such as pork, beef, lamb, chicken, duck, abalone, ginseng, shark fin, fish maw, prawn, crab, dried mushroom, fishballs, squid, dried eel, dried shrimp, pigskin, beancurd and Chinese radish. Poon Choi is special in that it is composed of many layers of different ingredients. It is also eaten layer by layer instead of "stirring everything up". Traditional Village Poon Choi is served in large metal washing bowls with a perforated metal plate at the bottom to keep food from burning, as it is kept warm on a portable stove as it is being served.

11. Black Tortoise Kueh (Cake)
The 'Orh' (Black) Ku Kueh or Black Tortoise Cake which I have here could have been a Hakka snack. I am just guessing as these black ku kueh gets it black hue from the leaves of the Rami, Choy Yip or Mugworts plant. These leaves are favored by the Hakkas and widely used in their traditional cakes to give them their distinctive black and I believe, for their medicinal properties too!

So........these are but a few of Hakka dishes which are more famous..... There are some desserts and home-cooked food that are worth mentioning but I just can't find pictures to show. Hmm.....I guess this will do and hope you get an insight of the Hakka peeps! ;)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Project-κ 16: Pizza Italia @ Oakland Commercial Square

Just realized I was suppose to blog about this when I was rummaging my picture folders. These pictures had been stored in there since last CNY. LOL! And if you would realize, the pictures for this post is of much better quality cause I used my friend's DSLR that time! All rightee.... It was lunch during a CNY outing and someone recommended we go to Pizza Italia for some away-from-the-ordinary-lunch! Haha.... This place is situated at Oakland Commercial Square, very near to Columbia Asia Hospital.

The restaurant has an actual Italian cook! So you know that you are enjoying some authentic Italian food.... well, from the taste and hands of an Italian at least! :P 

We ordered a couple of pizzas...and I'm so sorry...I couldn't remember the names as it was last January trip and my memory isn't that good! LOL! But these has no beef in them as most of you may have know already, that I can't take beef. :)

Regular pizzas were priced at RM 16 while large ones are RM 21. I usually order pizzas from either Pizza Hut or Domino's, so I can only compare Pizza Italia's pizzas to them. I find them to be duh....they knead the dough only when orders were taken. The base was soft and not over-burnt. Just cheese pizzas tasted kinda plain to me....I don't know....maybe I'm used to getting chunky pieces of meats on my pizza that I don't fancy cheese-only-loaded pizzas. *shrugs* However, those with meat on them tasted pretty decent. Not great....but above average!

Pizza don't-know-what's-its-name-1 with seafood was pretty good.

Pizza don't-know-what's-its-name-2 just cheese tasted plain to me. :/

Chicken Lasagna was pretty good too! Nicely layered of cheese and meat makes this an enjoyable dish. :)

The restaurant's interior

Apparently Pizza Italia doesn't have a signboard. So, you'll need to look out for the red canopy or this cute little sign on its glass door.

Address: 480, Jalan Haruan 4/4, 
Oakland Commercial Center, 
Seremban, Negeri Sembilan.

Check out other bloggers' review: Here and here

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Trade Trash for IPods, PSP, digital cameras and home theater system???

Fancy trading your rubbish for cool gadgets and electronic devices like a XBox, Sony Playstation 3, IPod Nano, Canon or Sony digital cameras, a personal home theater system or something more down-toned, shopping vouchers?!!! Well apparently some ingenious person came up with this idea of "Recycle and Reward" which literally rewards its Green members points for every item they recycle so that they can redeem prizes in the future! Click here for the website to learn more!

They also provide free pick-ups for your trash too!! Not sure if its around whole Malaysia, but in the Klang Valley, they certainly do! A lifetime membership fee of RM10 is all it takes to enroll yourself into this program and contribute to Mother Earth! It's like killing 2 birds with 1 stone! You got to get rid of your trash AND be rewarded at the same time! How COOL is that?????!!!!!! :D

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